Water skiing has come a long way since 1922 when Ralph Samuelson first used a couple of planks and a sash cord to attempt “snow skiing” on water. Though the water sports industry has certainly progressed since then, we want to give you some basics to take with you into the Summer months. This beginner’s guide to water skiing will walk you through all you need to know to get up and going on the lake!
Pack Your Bags
As you head to the lake, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessities. Adequate gear will make a huge difference in the success of your day. An aerodynamic suit that fits snug to your body is ideal. This will keep you gliding smoothly through the air and ensure a seamless transition in and out of the water. You’ll also need a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. We recommend a type III life jacket, as it provides inherent buoyancy and covers the chest, abdomen, and back. Water skiing gloves can also be worn, but are not crucial. A good pair will protect your hands and allow you to get a firmer grip on the tow rope handle.
For some, sunscreen is an afterthought. But when you’re out on the water all day, it’s important to remember to lather up. Find a trustworthy sun care product that you can confidently throw in your beach bag. If you need some help vetting the brands out there, check out our sun & skin care collection. Finally, it’s always a good idea to bring plenty of drinking water along! When out on the lake, you don’t always realize how much you’re stretching your body. It’s important to take care of yourself and stay hydrated.
Find a Boat
A beginner’s guide to water skiing would not be complete without how to pick out your boat. If a boat isn’t an option, there are many water ski and wake parks around that can have your adrenaline pumping in no time.
Finding the right boat can be intimidating, so we’ll help you narrow it down. You’ll want a boat that can get up to at least 90 horsepower and can produce a good wake. A small boat with a powerful engine is a great option, as it will allow you to make tight turns and quick acceleration. Below are a few boats that will get the job done:
Depending on skier experience and comfort level, the following chart is a good rule of thumb for towboat speeds:
|Weight of Skier||< 50 lbs.||50 – 100 lbs.||100 – 150 lbs.||150 – 180 lbs.||> 180 lbs.|
Select Your Skis
Now it’s time to select your skis! There’s a wide selection out there, but we’ve narrowed down the options for you with our combo and slalom water ski assortment. These combo skis are good to start with and come with a rear toe strap so you can even slalom when you feel like you’ve advanced enough. As far as sizes go, 160-pound skiers generally use a 66-inch ski. For every 20-pound difference, you can simply add or subtract 2 inches of length.
The right skis aren’t all you need. A good tow rope is also very important for your overall performance. You’ll want to make sure you have a durable and highly visible rope. If your boat doesn’t already have a wake tower or tabs, it’s a good idea to make sure it offers support for such accessories.
Now that you have everything you need for a successful day on the lake, it’s time to get up and out of the water! You might consider connecting your two ski tips using a trainer bar. This will help keep the skis in line and prevent you from accidentally doing the splits! Before getting out on the water, practice your ski stance on dry land. You should be in a “chair position” – knees bents, arms out straight, chin up. This is the position you’ll be in once you’re up and going on the skis, so make sure to master it on steady ground. Once you feel comfortable and able to reciprocate this position, you are ready to get in the water.
You’ll start out holding on to the tow rope with your arms out straight in front of you, your knees bent and together, and the ski tips poking up out of the water. Let the boat do most of the work pulling you up, and once you’re out of the water, assume the chair position.
Alright, beginner! With the knowledge you gained from this beginner’s guide to water skiing, you can tackle this watersport and easily become more than capable on water skis. So get on out there and ride some wakes! If you are looking for a different adventure, such as running, biking, or more, take a look at some blog articles we have. There’s an adventure out there for everyone! For more info on gear or advice on your watersports adventure, visit your nearest Sun & Ski Sports.